ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!
From the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
and other disability rights attorneys and advocates
Department of Justice Proposes Vast Changes in ADA Regulations
YOUR COMMENTS URGENTLY NEEDED!
The Department of Justice recently issued major proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The deadline for comments is August 18, 2008.
Some of DOJ’s changes are excellent, and urgently needed. It is important that the disability community laud these, to support DOJ against industry attack. Good proposals include adoption of the new 2004 ADAAG, stronger hotel reservation and ticketing provisions, recognition of psychiatric service animals, additional companion seating in theaters and stadiums, and stronger provisions for effective communication for people with hearing, visual, and speech disabilities.
However, there are also many draconian changes that would radically reduce the rights of people with disabilities to accessible facilities. For example, DOJ proposes:
- A significant weakening of the readily achievable barrier removal requirement for public accommodations;
- A significant reduction of elements required to be accessible in state and local government facilities;
- An exemption for all existing facilities from the new recreation and playground rules.
DOJ must receive a flood of comments from the disability community in favor of a strong, comprehensive ADA. Comments must defend the principle of individual, case-by-case assessment, which DOJ is largely abandoning in favor of many blanket reductions. We must remind DOJ that the ADA is already carefully crafted to take the needs of covered entities into account, and that reductions to our civil rights would be a devastating blow to our daily lives.
Links to draft comments are below to help you write your own comments. The links are organized by topic. The most important issues are starred (**) below.
Important: Your comments will have the most impact if you revise our drafts to add your own thoughts, and especially your own personal experiences or those of friends, family, colleagues or clients with disabilities.
If you are short on time, just click on one or two of the topics that interest you the most. Write a brief letter based on some points in the summary at the top of that topic's web page.
Ask DOJ for an extension of the comment period in your comments!
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS!
TOPICS IN THE DOJ PROPOSALS ARE:
** Definition of “existing facility”
** Comments on the Regulatory Impact Analysis
** Title II Complaint Process
** Communications; auxiliary aids and services
** Service animals
** Hotel reservations policies
** Seating and ticketing in assembly areas
** Medical care facilities
** Wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility devices
** Prisons, jails and the Prison Litigation Reform Act
Social service agencies, transient lodging, and dormitories
** Recreation Facilities and Play Areas (general comments)
** Questions concerning specific 2004 ADAAG Standards (General comments)
Maintenance of accessible features
Examinations and courses